Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

20/8/2004

Welsh Words and Phrases on Gravestones

Listed below are the meanings of the most common Welsh language words and phrases found on gravestones in Wales.

The inscriptions on gravestones in Welsh churchyards, cemeteries and chapel burial yards are frequently written in the Welsh language, as in the example quoted here. At first sight, this may confound non Welsh-speaking family historians, but checking through the list of Welsh words and phrases provided below should enable most such inscriptions to be understood.

Er cof/ am/ EDWARD DAVIES/ Treforis/ a fu farw Mai 21, 1896/ yn 34 mlwydd oed./ Hefyd SARAH HANNAH, ei ferch/ a fu farw Ion. 26, 1894, yn 15 mis oed./ Hefyd MARY ANN, ei ferch/ a fu farw Chwef. 14, 1895 yn 11 mis oed./ Hefyd WILLIE EDWARD, ei fab/ a fu farw Chwef. 1, 1896/ yn 5 mlwydd oed./ Hefyd SARAH, priod yr uchod/ a fu farw Chwef. 24, 1938/ yn 72 mlwydd oed./ “Hedd perffaith hedd”./

Note: The monumental inscription quoted is from the tombstone (above) in the graveyard of Capel Seion Newydd – Eglwys y Bedyddwyr Treforys (New Seion Chapel – Morriston Baptist Church) in Morriston, Swansea, Glamorgan. The “/” symbol is used in transcriptions of monumental inscriptions as an end-of-line marker.

Roughly translated, the inscription reads:

In memory/ of/ EDWARD DAVIES/ Treforis (Morriston)/ who died May 21, 1896/ aged 34 years./ Also SARAH HANNAH, his daughter/ who died January 26, 1894, aged 15 months./ Also MARY ANN, his daughter/ who died February 14, 1895 aged 11 months./ Also WILLIE EDWARD, his son/ who died February 1, 1896/ aged 5 years./ Also SARAH, wife of the above/ who died February 24, 1938/ aged 72 years./ “Peace perfect peace”./

Now check out the lists (below) of Welsh words and phrases and their meanings.

Welsh words and phrases
(Welsh spelling variants in brackets)

Welsh word or phrase English equivalent
Er cof am In memory of
Er cof an(n)wyl am In loving memory of
Er parchus cof am In respectful memory of
Er serchus cof am In loving (affectionate) memory of
Yma gorphwys (gorffwys) rhan farwol Here lie the mortal remains of
(g)wraig wife (of)
priod (briod) spouse (male or female)
an(n)wyl wraig beloved wife (of)
an(n)wyl briod beloved wife/husband (of)
chwaer sister (of)
ŵyr grandson (of)
a fu farw (bu farw) who died
yn 34 mlwydd oed aged 34 years
yn 15 mis oed aged 15 months
hefyd also
eto / etto also
yr uchod the above
y rhag grybwylledig the aforementioned
y rhagenwyd / rhagddywededig the aforementioned
ei ferch / ei merch / eu merch his/her/their daughter
ei fab / ei mab / eu mab his/her/their son
(yr hwn) a hunodd who fell asleep (i.e. died)
hunodd yn yr Iesu asleep in Jesus (i.e. died)
aeth attynt joined them (the ancestors; i.e. died)
o’r lle hwn of this place
o’r plwyf hwn of this parish
yn y plwyf hwn in this parish
dau o blant two children
yn eu mabandod in infancy
hedd perffaith hedd peace perfect peace
corffwys (yn gorffwys) mewn hedd rest in peace
yn hyn a allodd hon hi a’i gwnaeth she did all that was expected of her
coffadwriaeth y cyfiawn sydd fendigaid blessed is the memory of the righteous
Gogoniant i Dduw yn y Goruchaf Glory to God in the Highest

Calendar Months
(common abbreviations in brackets)

Welsh English
Awst August
Chwefror (Chwe.) February
Ebrill (Ebr.) April
Gorffenaf/Gorphenaf (Gor.) July
Hydref/Hedref (Hyd./Hed.) October
Ionawr (Ion.) January
Mai May
Mawrth (Maw.) March
Medi September
Mehefin (Meh.) June
Rhagfyr (Rhag.) December
Tachwedd (Tach.) November

For further information on Welsh Genealogy go to-
http://home.clara.net/wfha/wales/welsh-phrases.htm or use the link on the rhs

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